SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a wearable ultrasound patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries deep beneath the skin, which could help people detect cardiovascular problems earlier on and with greater precision. A study of their work was published recently in Nature Biomedical Engineering. In tests, the patch performed as well as some clinical methods to measure blood pressure. “Wearable devices have so far been limited to sensing signals either on the surface of the skin or right beneath it—but this is like seeing just the tip of the iceberg,” said Sheng Xu, an author of the study, in a statement. “By integrating ultrasound technology into wearables, we can start to capture a whole lot of other signals, biological events and activities going on way below the surface in a non-invasive manner.” Potential applications of the technology include real-time, continuous monitoring of blood pressure changes in patients with heart or lung disease, as well as patients who are critically ill or undergoing surgery, said Xu. The new ultrasound patch can continuously monitor central blood pressure in major arteries as deep as four centimeters below the skin.
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